Indian Vanguard

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Archive for October 17th, 2009

What has Driven the Tribals of Central India to Political Extremism?

Posted by Admin on October 17, 2009

Picture: Outlook

Picture: Outlook

Mainstream Weekly

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, 125 districts spread over nine States in Central India and adjoining areas have come under the influence of Left radical groups, loosely called Naxalites. On June 22, 2009, the Government of India has declared the most important among the Naxalite groups, the Communist Party of India (Maoist), as a terrorist organisation and banned it.

The precursors of the present phase of Naxal activities first surfaced in Naxalbari of North Bengal; Gopiballabhpur and Nayagram Police Station areas close to the meeting points of West Bengal and Jharkhand; Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh; Malkangiri in Orissa; the adjoining areas of Bastar in Chhattisgarh and Gadchiroli in Maharashtra mainly among the tribal people. Currently though many areas and people in North India outside the predominantly tribal region have come under Naxal influence, it seems from the report of the Expert Group constituted by the Planning Commission to examine the development challenges in extremist affected areas that the epicentre of the upsurge “is the region in Central India with concentration of tribal population, hilly topography and undulating terrain”. This may not be fortuitous.

On August 18, 2009, addressing a meeting of the Chief Ministers the Home Minister of the Government of India, P. Chidambaram, stated that the Maoist challenge would be met by development activities and police action. This was an utterly unrealistic approach; he was silent about the most important issue, namely, the systematic dispossession of the tribal people from land resources, which they have been holding for generations. Read the rest of this entry »

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Victims of the Home Ministry?

Posted by Admin on October 17, 2009

Mainstream weekly Saturday 17 October 2009

The advertisement of the Union Home Ministry, captioned ‘Look at These Innocent People—Victims of Naxal Violence’, that was carried in The Indian Express, The Hindu, and The Times of India on September 20, is not only vicious and vindictive, it is easily the most irresponsible in recent times. Has the executive arrogated to itself the functions of the judicature? The ad is calculated to prejudice not only the public mind but also the courts before which many prosecutions of so-called “Naxals” (sic) are pending. It is as if the Ministry is treating its distasteful depiction of corpses as a substitute for evidence in those trials.

In this way the state has abandoned all pretence to observance of the principles of natural justice according to which no one should be a judge in his own cause and no person or group should be condemned unheard.

The advertisement also attempts to efface, from the public mind, widespread killings by the police, the paramilitary forces, and the state-supported Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh, as well as the innumerable fake encounters in which these forces have engaged across the country. The advertisement is clearly meant to desensitise the public to the huge casualties among innocent civilians which are now inevitable.

There is a fundamental contradiction between the rule of law underlying the Constitution and the lawless use of force that the state is contemplating.


Sumanta Banerji, Prof Anand Chakravarti, Prof Uma Chakravarti, Prof Neera Chandhoke, Prof C.P. Chandrasekhar, Dr Gyaneshwar Chaturvedi, Prof Ajay Dandekar, Dr. Ranjeeta Dutta, M.S. Ganesh, Prof Narayani Gupta, Sanober Keshwar, Dr Mukul Mangalik, Dr Nandini Manjrekar, Gautam Navlakha, Pamela Philipose, Mario Pinto Almeida, Jyoti Punwani, Prof Shereen Ratnagar, Prof Aswini Ray, Prof Rani Ray, Arundhati Roy, Monica Sakhrani, Dr Kumar Sanjay Singh, K. Seshachary, Prof Nandini Sundar, Dr Nalini Taneja, Dr Anand Teltumbde, and Asad Zaidi.

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Let us demand an end to this hunt

Posted by Admin on October 17, 2009

234ART1Remembering K Balagopal ( K. Balagopal, Originally published in Telugu in Andhra Jyothy, September 23, 2009 )

Green Hunt has started. The program of elimination of Maoists that Home Minister Chidambaram said would start in September, and then postponed to November, has started in September as originally planned. Given the low reliability of reports emanating from Chhattisgarh, the numbers published by the press as to how many Cobra Soldiers have entered Dantewada district, how many battalions of paramilitary units have been sent by the Center, what kind of fatalities have been caused by the shootings on both sides, etc. might not be completely true.

With a little effort it might not be impossible to ascertain the number of soldiers involved in Green Hunt, but the same cannot be said of the number of deaths in this operation. The presence of a dead body proves death. But the authorities in Chhattisgarh take possession of the dead bodies of only their men, perform Panchnama and postmortem and hand over the bodies to the families of the dead. The bodies of Maoists and their sympathizers are often left in the forests as fodder for wild animals. This was standard practice until about a year ago; only recently and on certain occasions, it appears that some of these bodies are also being brought and Panchnama performed.

If those that have died are not armed naxalites but are in fact rural villagers, then leaving their bodies behind in the forest is the smart thing to do from the governments point of view. Even if the bodies are those of armed naxalites, the opinion in Chhattisgarhs ruling officialdom seems to be that the corpses of traitors deserve neither the usual dignities accorded to the dead, nor their labor for the performance of such dignities. In the war against the LTTE in Sri Lanka, when evidence was uncovered through the Panchnamas performed on the bodies of dead Tamils that they had been killed by torture, the government of that country ordered that bodies of Tamils could henceforth be buried without the performance of Panchnamas.

While the constitution might impede the passing of similar orders by our own governments, the Chhattisgarh government is implementing the same through unwritten orders. Newspapers are reporting that that the government of Chhattisgarh has passed orders banning media personnel from even approaching the areas of operation. Raman Singhs government seems to believe that such a restriction is necessary to obscure whether it is armed naxalites or their Adivasi followers that are hunted through Green hunt. If the media has the courage to defy this restriction, they can win. Read the rest of this entry »

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Confronting Guns of Peace: Bastar Faces its Worst Crisis

Posted by Admin on October 17, 2009

maoist_naxal_20091026 e— Himanshu Kumar, Vanvasi Chetna Ashram, Dantewada      –  Bombay Tragedy

As I write this critical note on the worst ever crisis undivided Bastar is facing, ambushes and gun battles between para-military, Salwa Judum and State Police forces and Naxal cadres are being played out in jungles of Dantewada and Bijapur districts of undivided Bastar in South Chhattisgarh. To understand this crisis one needs to have a brief knowledge of the previous crises that have confronted Bastar. It must be stated upfront that since historically this region has been a forested, tribal dominated and physically difficult terrain, it has also been a malgoverned region ! And this malgovernance manifested itself in injustice and denial of rights for the tribals inhabiting this region with the State eyeing it only for its mineral deposits and forest resources. This somewhere laid the ground for the crisis that is unfolding here since June 2005.

In June 2005, as part of a larger plan to tighten control over the rich mineral and forest resources of Bastar, the State, backed by private capital, launched a major offensive on tribals of this region and called it ironically Salwa Judum or peace movement. On the face of it Salwa Judum was a people’s uprising for peace against Naxal violence but the hidden agenda, as is gradually unfolding, was the corporate grabbing of resources. The sum total of four years of Salwa Judum has been the internal and forced displacement of more than 3.5 lakh people from their villages, a 30 fold escalation of violence and a 22 time swell in support base and area under control by the very Naxals whom the Judum aimed at decimating ! But the State never learns from failures – even after unleashing the loosing battle of horrifying violence on tribals of Bastar in name of Salwa Judum, it has launched a phase two in the name of Operation Green Hunt and Operation Godavari in Bastar and adjacent districts of Malkangiri (Orissa). This confrontation of Bastar’s tribals with the ‘guns of peace’ will unleash the worst crisis this region has ever seen or will ever see … but that is only if remaining tribals ever survive these ‘guns of peace’. Read the rest of this entry »

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Interview with com. Ganapathi, CPI Maoist General Secretary

Posted by Admin on October 17, 2009


In this interview, taken from the October 17, 2009 issue of Open magazine, Ganapathi, General Secretary of the CPI (Maoist), talks about the party’s work in Lalgarh, its response to the government’s upcoming military offensive, the political situation in Nepal, the defeat of the LTTE, the contradictory nature of Islamist movements in the world today, and the role of the new chieftain of US imperialism.

Oct 13, ’09: Villagers watch as Maoists burn effigies of Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh in Dumariya, Gaya district, Bihar

Oct 13, ’09: Villagers watch as Maoists burn effigies of Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh in Dumariya, Gaya district, Bihar , Picture: Out Look

“We Shall Certainly Defeat the Government”

The supreme commander of CPI (Maoist) talks to Open in his first-ever interview.

At first sight, Mupalla Laxman Rao, who is about to turn 60, looks like a school teacher. In fact, he was one in the early 1970s in Andhra Pradesh’s Karimnagar district. In 2009, however, the bespectacled, soft-spoken figure is India’s Most Wanted Man. He runs one of the world’s largest Left insurgencies—a man known in Home Ministry dossiers as Ganapathi; a man whose writ runs large through 15 states.

The supreme commander of CPI (Maoist) is a science graduate and holds a B Ed degree as well. He still conducts classes, but now they are on guerilla warfare for other senior Maoists. He replaced the founder of the People’s War Group, Kondapalli Seetharaamiah, as the party’s general-secretary in 1991. Ganapathi is known to change his location frequently, and intelligence reports say he has been spotted in cities like Hyderabad, Kolkata and Kochi.

After months of attempts, Ganapathi agreed to give his first-ever interview. Somewhere in the impregnable jungles of Dandakaranya, he spoke to RAHUL PANDITA on issues ranging from the Government’s proposed anti-Naxal offensive to Islamist Jihadist movements.

Q Lalgarh has been described as the New Naxalbari by the CPI (Maoist). How has it become so significant for you? Read the rest of this entry »

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